Wellington embraces talents, culture, and passion of international students
International students are both drawn to, and contribute to, Wellington’s reputation as a cool city.
While they love the great arts and culture vibe, fabulous food, and easy access to parks and hills, they choose Wellington principally for its world-class educational opportunities and diverse career prospects.
In a city where 23 percent of people are studying, international students quickly feel a sense of belonging as they are welcomed into a well-connected community of learners and achievers. As the capital city, Wellington offers sophisticated collaboration between education providers, research institutions, the business community, and Government.
Innovative programmes build long-term relationships with international students
Study in Wellington, a specialist team within economic development agency WellingtonNZ, promotes the region as a great place to study and enter the workforce, and recognises that international students have much to offer the city both during their stay, and after they have finished studying.
“International students bring their culture and their talents,” says programme lead Sarah Grant. “They bring determination, skill, and passion to our community. And they also bring a good work ethic with them.
Study in Wellington is focused on building-long-term relationships with students and alumni and has developed an innovative range of programmes tailored to each stage of an international student’s journey, and to provide channels for future collaboration.
Networking programmes key to “amazing” experience
For 25-year-old Shamanthi Jayawardena, leaving her home in Colombo, Sri Lanka, to study overseas in 2019 was a big decision and there were plenty of options. In the end she chose Wellington, saying the “cool city vibe” and reputation for safety attracted her, along with the quality of the courses available at Victoria University.
Returning home 15 months later, having completed her Master’s in Global Marketing, she reflects on an “amazing” experience in Wellington and says much of it was down to her involvement in the programmes offered by Study in Wellington, including Work Ready in Wellington, Alumni Connect and Employer Connect.
She says there’s no doubt a highlight was being involved in Employer Connect, which builds up the networking skills of graduating students and connects them with employers.
“As a project coordinator facilitator, I got the chance to meet people from diverse backgrounds, understand their needs and help design a programme that benefits both the international students and the community of local organisations.”
So successful was Shamanthi’s networking that she landed a contract role with Wellington design and digital agency Obvious and continues to work for them remotely from Sri Lanka.
The opportunity to succeed is there for all international students, Shamanthi says.
“You need to be open-minded, connect with the programmes available to you, and put yourself out there. It’s a great place to follow your passion.”
Wellington proud of its international student community
Grant is proud of the way Wellington embraces its international student community, even with closed borders.
“We are ready to welcome back students when we can and believe that we do provide a unique experience and the opportunity to really get connected with the local community, businesses, and institutions.
“In return, the students make Wellington a more dynamic and interesting city.”